Last Sunday was Jacob's Eagle Court of Honor (he completed his Eagle in December 2010, but we have been so busy, we hadn't yet gotten to the ceremony).
It was such a sweet experience. His dad made a wonderful video tribute to Jacob's life growing up and his Eagle project. It was all I could do to sew on his patches and get the food prepared. (Oh, and John asked me to give a short talk which I titled, "Be Prepared"). But my favorite part of the evening was when Jacob spoke. He was truly humble. He was overwhelmed by the support (most of my family were in town for our family performance at the City Center Park the next day so there were a lot of them there. My dad and brothers sang, "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" with Jacob, it was wonderful). He expressed gratitude to everyone, but he said, "Especially to my mom. She is always there. She gives 110% support."
I can't really explain how that felt. I guess it's a normal thing for a kid to say, but Jacob being the oldest, I haven't really heard too many such things yet. Maybe at some point these phrases will begin to sound trite to me, but on that day, it was the dearest, most genuine gift I can remember receiving as a mother. I guess for lack of a better phrase, I could call it a parental "pay day." But that falls short. No, I think I would say that in that moment, I felt, joy.
I remember when I graduated from high school. I thought, "No one can really prepare you for this. This is strange, unique, difficult..." But in the same way, I don't think anyone can really prepare you for your oldest child graduating either. It is bittersweet, for sure. But mostly, I think it's sweet. It is so fulfilling to see your life's work thus far progress to the next level. It is indeed a joy to observe your child emerge from your care as a confident, caring, obedient, intelligent person whom you know will make a positive difference in the world.
I know I am not adequately expressing the full depth of my feelings, but I know that parents understand. I hope you'll be able to close your eyes for a moment and sense how it felt or will feel when you too experience such a time. It is the closest thing to understanding God that I can imagine. Surely He loves us in the same way. I decided in that moment to be a more grateful child, because I know now how very much it must mean to my hard working, perfect Father in Heaven to hear "thank you."
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles..."